The number of Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria increased by 4.3 percent in 2011, an Interior Ministry census report has shown. In 2010, there were 327,712 Jews living in these areas; in 2011 the number of residents increased by 14,702 people to 342,414. These numbers do not include the approximately 300,000 Jews who live in neighborhoods in north and east Jerusalem.
In addition, the census reports that about 60,000 Jews study at educational institutions located in Judea and Samaria, including Hesder yeshivas [which combine religious studies with army service], Ulpanot [religious studies for women], pre-army preparatory programs and colleges.
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The conclusion from the census data is that about 722,000 Jews are living beyond the Green Line, including in the Golan Heights. The data also clearly shows a significant Jewish population increase in hilltop settlements.
In the major settlement blocs the census data revealed that the most growth was recorded at 11% in east Gush Etzion [Etzion bloc], from 3,963 in 2010 to 4,449 in 2011. In the settlement of Tekoa alone, there were an additional 298 new residents.
National Union Chairman MK Yaakov Katz is expected to present the census data to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cabinet ministers and the Knesset plenum on Monday.
"We can learn from this data that the Jewish public in Judea and Samaria had significant natural growth, but that moving to Judea and Samaria from outside the area or the natural growth of young coupes from a settlement, who want to reside in their homeland, was stopped following the settlement building freeze that ended in September of 2010," Katz said on Saturday.
"In another year or so we will see the results of the building boom. We pray that, with the help of God, the population of pioneers in Judea and Samaria, who are the brick and mortar of the nation, will continue to blossom and influence, for the better, the increase of the people of Israel," Katz added.
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